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From Mark Copeland... "MINISTERING SPIRITS" The Ministry Of Angels To Christ



                         "MINISTERING SPIRITS"

                    The Ministry Of Angels To Christ

INTRODUCTION

1. We've seen that angels and other spiritual beings rendered service to
   God...
   a. Angels as messengers and executors of God's will
   b. Cherubim as guardians and bearers of His throne
   c. Seraphim as proclaimers of His holiness

2. Angels also provided significant service to Jesus Christ...
   a. Their ministry to Christ emphasizes His deity - He 1:4-14
   b. A ministry that is part of the "mystery of godliness" - 1Ti 3:16

[What service did angels render to Christ?  What service will they yet
render on His behalf...?]

I. THEIR PAST MINISTRY TO CHRIST

   A. FORETOLD HIS BIRTH...
      1. Gabriel appeared to Mary - Lk 1:26-38
      2. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream - Mt 1:18-21

   B. ANNOUNCED HIS BIRTH...
      1. First, a single angel to the shepherds in the field - Lk 2:8-12
      2. Then, a multitude of the heavenly host praising God - Lk 2:
         13-15

   C. PROTECTED HIM IN INFANCY...
      1. By warning Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt - Mt 2:13
      2. By telling Joseph in a dream to return to Israel - Mt 2:19-20

   D. MINISTERED TO HIM AFTER THE TEMPTATION...
      1. After the devil had left Him - Mt 4:11; Mk 1:13
      2. May have included encouragement, perhaps even food - e.g.,
         1Ki 19:5-7

   E. STRENGTHENED HIM AT GETHSEMANE...
      1. As He struggled in prayer and agony - Lk 22:41-44
      2. Perhaps similar to the way in which Daniel was strengthened
         - cf. Dan 10:18-19

   F. ROLLED AWAY THE STONE AT THE TOMB...
      1. Sitting on the stone after doing so - Mt 28:2
      2. Terrifying the guards at the tomb by his appearance - Mt 28:3-4

   G. APPEARED FOLLOWING HIS RESURRECTION...
      1. To the women sans Mary Magdalene (who had gone to tell Peter
         and John upon seeing the stone removed from the tomb) - Mt 28:
         5-7; Mk 16:5-7; Lk 24:4-7,22,23; Jn 20:1-2
      2. To Mary Magdalene who went into the tomb after Peter and John
         left - Jn 20:11-13

   H. ATTENDED HIS ASCENSION...
      1. As two men in white apparel - Ac 1:9-10
      2. Announcing the promise of His return - Ac 1:11

[With angels so prominent in the first coming of Christ, we should not
be surprised with their role in His second coming...]

II. THEIR PRESENT AND FUTURE MINISTRY TO CHRIST

   A. THEY WORSHIP AND SERVE HIM...
      1. They worship Him around the throne - Rev 5:11-14
      2. They revealed things to take place - Re 1:1; 22:16 (note also
         the many references to angels throughout Revelation)

   B. THEY WILL ACCOMPANY HIS SECOND COMING...
      1. When He comes in His glory - Mt 16:27; 25:31; Mk 8:38
      2. When He comes to raise the dead - 1Th 4:16
      3. When He comes to bring judgment and condemnation upon the
         wicked - 2Th 1:7-10

   C. THEY WILL SEPARATE THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED...
      1. Gathering out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those
         who practice lawlessness, casting them into the furnace of fire
         - Mt 13:40-42
      2. Separating the wicked from the just - Mt 13:49-50

CONCLUSION

1. As previously mentioned, the ministry of angels emphasize the deity
   of Christ...
   a. As we see them serving Him
   b. As we see them praising Him

2. Hopefully, our study of angels will encourage us in the same
   direction...
   a. To serve Christ, who was, is and will be served by angels
   b. To praise Christ, who certainly deserves our praise both now and
      forever

Will we join with the angels by adding our service and praise to Jesus
who has "obtained a more excellent name than they (angels)...", both now
and in the world to come? - He 1:4

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Was Moses on Drugs? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=2425

Was Moses on Drugs?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Benny Shanon, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has recently introduced a novel approach to interpreting the biblical narratives regarding Moses’ experience with the burning bush and reception of the Ten Commandments. Shanon claims Moses was high on some type of mind-altering drug that caused him to hallucinate and have “visions.” Shanon puts forth this idea because he says that he does not think Moses was involved in “a supernatural cosmic event,” nor does he believe that the story was simply a “legend” (“Moses Was...”, 2008), so he believes the events must have some natural explanation.
Shanon attempts to add credence to his claim by admitting to using mind-altering drugs himself. In fact, he explained that he used a “powerful psychotropic plant” known as ayahuasca “during a religious ceremony in Brazil’s Amazon forest” that caused him to “experience visions that had spiritual-religious connotations” (“Moses Was...”, 2008).
Such an outlandish claim as Shanon’s can be shown to be egregiously false for several reasons. First, the books penned by Moses, with the Ten Commandments as the focal point, are the most ingenious books of codified law that the ancient world had ever seen. They are filled with scientific foreknowledge and medical practices that were light years ahead of the knowledge of surrounding nations (see Butt, 2007). The depth of ethical understanding and legal justice presented in Moses’ writings have been the bedrock of legal philosophy and practical legislation upon which Western society is based. To attribute the Ten Commandments, which are among the most concise, cogent summary statements of law ever penned, to a drug-induced psychotic stupor is an untenable, irrational conclusion.
Furthermore, in order to attribute Moses’ Mt. Sinai experience to drug use, Shanon would be forced to dismiss the fact that the entire nation of Israel experienced the presence of God at Sinai. The Bible states: “Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.... Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off” (Exodus 19:18; 20:18). There is no possible way that some two to three million Israelites could all have been smoking some “psychotropic” plant that would have caused them all to see the exact same hallucination. In Shanon’s attempt to dismiss God’s supernatural encounter with Moses, the professor has arrived at false conclusions that cannot be defended logically.
In addition, the Old Testament, especially the first five books of Moses, gives extensive and very detailed instructions as to how the Israelites were supposed to worship God. Conspicuously absent from these writings are any instructions pertaining to psychotic drugs to be used in their religious ceremonies. In fact, Aaron and the priests were specifically instructed not to drink wine or intoxicating drink when they performed religious ceremonies (Leviticus 10:9). It would be unreasonable to conclude that they could not drink alcohol, but they could smoke a plant that would send them into a state of hallucination.
In truth, there is no historical, logical, or rational evidence that would remotely suggest that Moses was on drugs. The historical truth is that God supernaturally appeared to Moses and delivered to him the Ten Commandments. In the scenario that Professor Shanon has presented, there is only one person that used powerful, mind-altering drugs—and it is not Moses.

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Moses Was High On Drugs: Israeli Researcher” (2008), [On-line], URL:http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080304/od_afp/israelreligionoffbeat;_ylt =AkpuHg_GDQDWrvVQZxWJKeoZ.3QA.

The Foolishness of Atheism by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4158

The Foolishness of Atheism

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Atheists are fond of claiming that their way of thinking is logical, reasonable, and intellectual. They maintain that they are open-minded and refer to themselves as free thinkers. Unlike Christians, who are allegedly delusional, irrational, blind, and absurd, atheists consider themselves utterly rational, sensible people who follow the evidence wherever it leads.
Yet atheism says that everything came from nothing. Atheism says that an explosion caused exquisite order. It says that random chances produced precision and that life popped into existence in nature from non-life. Atheism says that the design of the human eye is a delusion, while the design of a camera is apparent. Atheism says that fish and frogs are man’s distant forefathers and that intelligence is the result of non-intelligence. Atheism alleges that either man is on the same moral plane as a moose, or he actually evolved a sense of morality from amoral monkeys. Atheism spends multiplied millions of dollars and countless thousands of hours in search of extra-terrestrial life, which has never been found.
When atheism is stripped of pompous proclamations and arrogant allegations, its naked soul is seen for what it really is: weak, illogical, unscientific, and worthless. Atheists blindly believe that, for example, life came from non-life. Rather than accept what scientific experimentation has repeatedly concluded over the past 200 years (that in nature life comes only from life and that of its own kind), atheists remain committed to a disproven theory. Man has never witnessed mindlessness bring forth intelligence. He’s never seen something come from nothing.
While trying to convince others he is galloping confidently atop a stallion called Common Sense, in truth, atheism stumbles on the back of a donkey called Foolishness. Is there any wonder why David said, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1)?
For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22).

Following Up On a Messy, and Still Missing, Link by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2729

Following Up On a Messy, and Still Missing, Link

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

On May 20, 2009, media hype over a fossil from Germany ran remarkably high. Supposedly, a 47-million-year-old lemur-like creature, affectionately dubbed Ida, was the earliest link between humans and primates. Several facts militated against this being the case, notably the reality that evolution did not occur and there are no legitimate evolutionary links between humans and primates. My co-worker, Eric Lyons, and I wrote an article refuting the find’s status as a “missing link” (Lyons and Butt, 2009).
In the wake of the media hullaballoo, a cadre of evolutionary scientists have also begun to shoot holes in Ida’s status as a link between humans and primates. In the May 29, 2009 edition of Science, Ann Gibbons penned an article titled “Celebrity Fossil Primate: Missing Link or Weak Link?” (2009, 324[5931]:1124). In that article, Gibbons points out several of the problems plaguing the alleged link. She wrote: “Many of the leading scientists who study primate evolution don’t think Ida lives up to Hurum’s billing as a human ancestor; most think she’s a relative of lemurs instead.” Paleoanthropologist Elwyn Simons forthrightly stated: “A lot of articles say it is a missing link. That is wrong.... It has no convincing links to monkeys, apes, and humans” (as quoted in Gibbons, 2009, p. 1124).
The media frenzy surrounding Ida brought to light the fact that scientists do not always follow objective evidence where it leads. In fact, Ida’s case is a classic example of a scientific group deliberately pushing an agenda, in spite of a lack of evidence, and an overeager media willing to sacrifice truth for a “scoop.” When questioned about his media tactics, JØrn Hurum, Ida’s lead researcher and promoter, said: “Yes, I am shaking things up. If you want kids to be interested in science, we need to start packaging it in many different ways” (as quoted in Gibbons, p. 1125). Surely you did not miss Hurum’s objective—to “interest” kids in “science.” Yet, the “science” involved in this escapade is not objective, fact-based knowledge. Rather, it is a blind adherence to the rotting corpse of Darwinian evolution that true science buried long ago. The editorial section in New Scientist succinctly summarized the situation with these comments: “By the time doubts about Ida’s role in our past emerged, the circus had moved on” (“Overselling Ida,” 2009, p. 3). How many times will such dishonest “scientific” shenanigans have to occur before our society realizes that it has been sold a bill of goods packaged under the heading of evolution?

REFERENCES

Gibbons, Ann (2009), “Celebrity Fossil Primate: Missing Link or Weak Link?,” Science, 324[5931]:1124-1125, May 29.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Ida—A Missing Link?”, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240160.
“Overselling Ida” (2009), NewScientist, 202[2710]:3, May 30-June 5.

Promising News for the Unborn by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=5264

Promising News for the Unborn

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Since the infamous Supreme Court decision in 1973, murderous hands have reached into the wombs of willing mothers—designed to be a safe haven for the innocent—and butchered millions upon millions of precious babies. Many are the excuses given to justify such barbaric practices. One of those reasons is “research.” A recent scientific breakthrough may bring salvation for many of those innocent souls yet to be carelessly tossed aside.
Due to President Obama’s March 2009 executive order, restrictions on embryonic stem (ES) cell research that President George W. Bush had signed into effect were lifted. The order allows federal funds to be used for ES cells from “donated surplus embryos originally made for reproduction” (Hyun, 2014, p. 28). So, living embryos that were not used during in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures can be used for ES cell research. In vitro fertilization is a procedure in which a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to generate several eggs, which are sucked from the ovaries and put into a sperm bath in a Petri dish for a few days. Selected embryos are then implanted by catheter into the uterus. The process has been used successfully for decades, with over 200,000 IVF babies being born since 1981 (Nivin, 2015).
From a biblical standpoint, is there anything wrong with this procedure? There are various issues with IVF from a Christian perspective, but one significant problem is the death of many fertilized eggs—i.e., babies—whether intentionally or unintentionally. According to the Bible, the life of a human begins at conception (cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5; Isaiah 49:1; Miller, 2006, p. 36ff.), making IVF essentially premeditated murder. In IVF, only selected embryos are implanted into a woman. The rest are discarded or frozen (typically, eventually to be discarded). Of those that are implanted, most miscarry. Transabdominal selective reduction is further utilized in the process to wipe out those implanted zygotes that are deemed “inferior.” [NOTE: Transabdominal selective reduction is a procedure in which the number of fetuses present in a uterus are reduced (through abortion), typically by inserting a needle through the mother’s stomach, into the uterus, and then into the desired fetus, injecting a potassium chloride solution into the baby, which burns and poisons it, ultimately stopping its heart (Healthwise Staff, 2014). Fetuses chosen for survival are selected on the basis of gender and health status (“Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction,” 2013).]
ES cell researchers step in at this point. In ES cell research, the goal is to grow cells that can be used for various purposes. Researchers hope to use those cells to learn about the human body and growth patterns and, especially, for harvesting cells that can be transplanted into individuals with various physical conditions (e.g., macular degeneration, leukemia, spinal cord injuries, etc.). Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is typically used in ES cell research—the process used to clone the famous sheep, Dolly. In SCNT, the nucleus is removed from an egg and the nucleus from a skin cell is transferred into the egg. The egg recognizes that it has been fertilized and begins growing like a normal embryo. The embryo is subsequently destroyed to harvest its cells for the generation of ES cell lines.
You might ask, “Why not use adult stem cells instead of embryos?” The reason is that cells differentiate as they grow—i.e., change into cells with specific functions. For example, a cell will differentiate from a naïve embryonic state during development to acquire the unique characteristics of, say, a bone or liver cell. For many medical purposes, however, researchers need undifferentiated cells without those cell-type specific programs. So, ES cells are used. Scientists could not figure out how to reprogram a differentiated cell back to an undifferentiated state until 2006. Elizabeth Landau, a science reporter for CNN, explained that
[t]he first developments in the field of stem cell research used leftover embryos created by the union of sperm and egg fromin vitro fertilization. But embryonic stem cell research is controversial because to use the stem cells for developing medical treatments, the embryo is destroyed. Embryos have the potential to develop into a fully formed human [NOTE: Christians would argue that they are already fully humans—JM], bringing up ethical questions. Scientists later realized that it’s not necessary to use embryos to obtain stem cells that match patients. Shinya Yamanaka won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovering how to make “induced pluripotent stem cells,” or [iPS] cells (2014).
And that brings us to the good news.
Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John Gurdon received the Nobel Prize in October 2012, when Yamanaka’s lab discovered that “mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”—i.e., they figured out how to reprogram cells by defined factors after they had already specialized (“Shinya Yamanaka—Facts,” 2014). By doing so, they made iPS cells, pluripotency being that characteristic of “stemness” that is required for medical purposes. They discovered how to reprogram almost any kind of cell by inserting genes into “mature cells that already have specific functions,” turning back the clock on those mature cells (Landau). First, Takahashi and Yamanaka succeeded in reprogramming cells back to an undifferentiated state using differentiated, embryonic fibroblasts in mice (2006). Subsequently, Yu, et al. (2007) successfully applied the process to differentiated, embryonic fibroblasts in humans, while Takahashi, et al. (2007) successfully applied the process to adult human somatic cells, rather than embryonic cells.
This groundbreaking research promises to eliminate the need for cloning embryos for ES cell purposes. Deiter Egli, senior research fellow at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, explains that “[t]he cloning method takes a few weeks, and is not significantly faster than generating [iPS] cells” (as quoted in Landau). So, time is not a factor in the process. In fact, Egli notes that nuclear transfer advantages “would have to be considerable to beat out [iPS], which is ‘much more efficient and less ethically contentious’” (Landau).
Gretchen Vogel, writing in Science magazine, highlighted in 2014 that several states have banned human SCNT research. She explained: “The political energy needed to overturn those laws might be hard to generate given that there’s now an embryo-free alternative to producing patient-specific stem cells” (p. 462). And that is good news. How can anyone justify destroying embryonic human life when he can get the human cells he needs without embryos? Thank God for Yamanaka and Gurdon, whose research may help repair the breaching dam holding back the proverbial river of American baby blood shed at the hands of abortionists.

REFERENCES

Healthwise Staff (2014), “Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction,” WebMD, reviewed by Kathleen Romito and Femi Olatunbosun, http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/tc/multifetal-pregnancy-reduction-topic-overview.
Hyun, Insoo (2014), “Regulate Embryos Made for Research,” Nature, 509[7498]:27-28, May 1.
Landau, Elizabeth (2014), “Cloning Used to Make Stem Cells from Adult Humans,” CNN Health,http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/28/health/stem-cell-breakthrough/.
Nivin, Todd (2015), “Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization,” WebMDhttp://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/in-vitro-fertilization.
Miller, Dave (2006), Sexual Anarchy: The Moral Implosion of America (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction” (2013), The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics, Num. 553, February, http://www.acog.org/-/media/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Ethics/co553.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20151005T1420301791
“Shinya Yamanaka—Facts” (2014), Nobelprize.org,http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2012/yamanaka-facts.html.
Takahashi, K., K. Tanabe, M. Ohnuki, M. Narita, T. Ichisaka, K. Tomoda, and S. Yamanaka (2007), “Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors,” Cell, 131[5]:861-872, November 30.
Takahashi, K. and S. Yamanaka (2006), “Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors,” Cell, 126[4]:663-676, August 25.
Vogel, Gretchen (2014), “Therapeutic Cloning Reaches Milestone,” Science, 344[6183]:462-463.
Yu, J., M.A. Vodyanik, K. Smuga-Otto, J. Antosiewicz-Bourget, J.L. Frane, S. Tian, J. Nie, G.A. Jonsdottir, V. Ruotti, R. Stewart, I.I. Slukvin, and J.A. Thomson (2007), “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells,” Science, 318[5858]:1917-1920, December 21.
[SPECIAL THANKS TO: Dr. Michael Kareta (Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of California, Davis), currently at the Department of Pediatrics & Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, for reviewing this article.]

How Many Daughters Did Lot Have? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=547&b=Genesis

How Many Daughters Did Lot Have?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the famous narrative of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah recorded in Genesis 19, one discovers that Lot, his wife, and two daughters are led outside of the city in order to avoid death by means of fire and brimstone. Although Lot’s wife was not destroyed in the devastation of these cities, she never made it to the mountains to take refuge with Lot and her daughters, but instead was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back upon the devastated cities after specifically being warned otherwise (cf. 19:17,26). Of the inhabitants of the cities who were destroyed on that day of reckoning, only Lot and his two daughters survived (19:25-26).
A casual reading of this memorable event has lead some to believe (and advocate) that there is a contradiction involving the number of Lot’s daughters. (Whenever one alleges that a contradiction exists in the Bible, a logical answer needs to be offered or a person might become convinced that the Bible contains contradictions and therefore is not God’s Word.) In the beginning of Genesis 19, we find where Lot tells a harassing mob outside his house in Sodom that he has “two daughters who have not known a man” (19:8). Later, after two angels warned Lot to leave the city because it was going to be destroyed, the text says that “Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters” (19:14). The next morning the angels urged Lot to hasten their departure saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city” (19:15). While the patriarch lingered, the angels “took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters…and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (19:16).
The question that has been posed about the Bible’s description of Lot’s family is as follows: If Lot only had two daughters who were virgins (“not known a man”—19:8), then how could he have “sons-in-law”? Is this a legitimate contradiction, or is there an adequate explanation?
One possible explanation to this supposed contradiction is that Lot actually had more than two daughters. But how can that be when the text simply speaks of Lot “and his two daughters?” The answer could be found in verse 15, where Lot’s two daughters in the house (19:15) might be contrasted with other daughters who were married to his sons-in-law (19:14), and thus were out of the house. Since the angels who urged Lot to hasten his departure modified “two daughters” with the phrase “who are here,” then it is conceivable that Lot could have had daughters elsewhere who remained in Sodom and were destroyed along with Lot’s sons-in-law.
Another explanation revolves around the modifying phrase “who had married his daughters” (19:14). The words “who had married” are from the Hebrew word laqach, which means in the widest variety of applications “to take” or “to grasp.” In this passage, the word obviously is used in reference to taking a “wife.” According to Hebrew scholar Victor Hamilton, “The Hebrew form used here is a participle (loqcheey), and as such is without a specific tense reference. Even the ancient versions differed on how to render the participle, with the [Latin] Vulgate opting for a future tense, and the LXX [Septuagint—the first Greek translation of the Old Testament] opting for a past tense” (1995, p. 40, bracketed items added). Biblical commentator John T. Willis agreed, saying, “The Hebrew lying behind the phrase who were to marry can be interpreted equally well in either of two ways” (1984, p. 266). Interestingly, most modern translations (including the NAS, RSV, and NIV) agree with first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in making these men future sons-in-law (1:11:4). This is in contrast to the KJV, ASV, and NKJV, each of which renders these men as already being sons-in-law (“who had married”). No doubt the translators of the more modern versions believed that Lot’s “sons-in-law” were only betrothed, not married, to Lot’s daughters at the time they departed Sodom.
Other information that adds credence to the “future sons-in-law” position revolves around how people in ancient times viewed their future spouses. In the first chapter of the first book in the New Testament, we read where Joseph was called Mary’s “husband” while they were betrothed and before they were married. The text reads:
After His [Jesus’—EL] mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her awaysecretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18-20, emp. added).
The wording of this passage is not just a simple use of “prolepsis” (the assignment of a name, description, or event to a time that precedes it). Rather, betrothal was a valid marriage in Jewish law (see Jamieson, et al., 1997). When marriage vows were said at the betrothal, it required a “putting away” or a divorce to end them. Furthermore, according to Josephus’ comments about Hyrcanus II being Herod’s father-in-law four years before Herod married his daughter (Mariamne), espousals of old were a sufficient foundation for kinship (14:13:1).
In light of all this information, one obviously can understand that there is not a contradiction in Genesis 19. Either Lot had more than two daughters (which the text allows), or Lot’s two virgin daughters were betrothed to men who were called Lot’s sons-in-law before the marriage was consummated. It is my judgment that, in view of the evidence, the latter is the more likely explanation. But, regardless of which explanation is correct, we may rest assured that no contradiction exists.

REFERENCES

Josephus, Flavius (1987 edition), Antiquities of the Jews, in The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, transl. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Hamilton, Victor P. (1995), The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18-50 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Faussett, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Willis, John T. (1984), Genesis (Abilene, TX: ACU Press).

From Jim McGuiggan... BLESSED SUNDAY MORNING

BLESSED SUNDAY MORNING

Who are these that gather together on Sunday mornings? Old and young, women and men, slow and quick, smiling and frowning, glad and sad, sick and well, alone and with families. Who are they? In their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes or in their casuals, from out of town and just around the corner, the eager and the subdued, the tired and those with too much energy, the bored and the expectant, on time and running late?
And what do the neighbors think as they peek out from behind their curtains, pass them in the streets or nod at them from the doorstep? What do they think as they hear the hymns dancing or marching or struggling through the air? What do they think when they note the silences between the hymns and know that this is probably the moment when prayers of confession, praise, petition, thanksgiving, adoration and lament are going up to God?
And why do these people come week after week, month after month and year after year? God knows. At different times they come with different moods, from different motivations and for different reasons. To see friends, because parents require it, because it’s expected of them, because their children and their friends need them to be present maybe even because there’s a certain boy or girl there, because…
I suppose we’ve all shared in the poor, bad or doubtful reasons for congregating, but there are times when, by God’s grace, we get it right and we gather for very good reasons—the best reasons.
We’re never so visibly one as when we make an appointment at a given place and a given time for a given purpose—and keep it!
Sometimes we gather simply to thank God! And millions of us have so much to be thankful for! (I have nothing to say at this point about those sorrowful people whose lives are so tragically hard that they feel they have nothing to be thankful for. And I get that! I’ve said a little about that elsewhere.) I’m speaking now about us who have food, clothes, clean water, parks, rivers, friends, loving children or parents, jobs, health to work, financial security—enough to see us through, tiny grandchildren who must have our spectacles to eat or husbands/wives to make lovely days even lovelier. Sometimes we just want to thank someone for rain and warm sunshine for friends to love and be loved by and so we gather to sing our gratitude.
Sometimes we come to apologize for our wrongs. We don’t come to grovel and crawl before God, pleading for forgiveness as though he were tightfisted and miserly and had to be begged into a good mood. The cross of Christ! Imagine him speaking from the cross—this Savior of ours—“Do I look like you have to grovel and crawl to find forgiveness? Has the Holy Father who sent me here to this place and for this reason strike you as one you must crawl before, like some petty and heartless tyrant?” Were we to crawl and grovel would it not be an insult—would it not? The cross shows he views our sin with profound seriousness but it shows that the last word with him is, “I delight—yes, delight in forgiving your sins.” (Micah 7:18-19 with John 3:16-17) And it’s centrally because he in generous righteousness forgives us freely and fully that we can’t help apologizing that we sadden him. “Yes,” he would say, “it’s all right to apologize but don’t grovel. Get up and move on toward a better heart and a better day and I will help you.”
Sometimes we come for challenge and kind rebuke. We don’t want your smugness and self-righteousness whitewashed, we don’t want to be forever babied or spoken to in that “there, there, it’s all right” tone as if we were little children who were a little naughty. God’s Holy Son didn’t come nor did his Holy Father send him to make it easier for us to sin or to blind us to the destructive power of the evil that feeds like a slimy parasite on the entire human family and vulnerable Christians. We want to be awakened out of our christianly sleep and lolling to engage in war with the “world” (organized cosmic corruption) for the human family as our Master has done and is doing.
We wish to be made bold in our praying; we want to be transformed so that we pray less for trivia and more for strength to engage in kingdom living—the kind of  living that’s described in Revelation as war against red Dragons, seven-headed sea monsters and all the earth’s allies of brutality and human enslavement. We want to hear preaching and teaching that will stun us with the truth of who our God is and what it is he is up to and having stunned us it will then galvanize us to join with him in his cosmic rescue!
These and more are reasons we gather on Sunday morning!
(With permission I borrowed the drift of this from my little book called, Where the Spirit of the Lord Is…)

From Eugene C. Perry... Finding one's self (Who am I)



http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Perry/Eugene/Charles/1922/Articles/whoarewe.html

Finding one's self
(Who am I)
(The following is an adaptation of remarks made as a senior member at a recent family reunion. ecp)
Often, when people get involved in deviant behaviour, seem directionless or manifest other symptoms of troubled lives, we hear the remark, “He/she just needs to find himself/herself?” The person is not lost but rather is confused or unsure of his/her place in the family, community, nation, world. Where do I fit in? What do I stand for? It involves being lost in the sense of needing to decide/determine/find one’s place among the diverse world-views and value systems of a pluralistic society.
A very real part of who I am has to do with FAMILY. That is to say that family usually has much to do with one’s world-view, value system and life-style. WHO ARE WE?
To begin with, in a general sense, all are a part of God’s family. We are His children, His creation. We are daily recipients of His loving care. He provides what is needed to sustain our lives as well as the example and direction that enables us to live “full” lives (Jno.10:10).
Unfortunately, there are those who outright disown this relationship. Others just fail to cultivate or recognize it. God is our father and ideally this defines us – enables us to find ourselves and thus to know who we are and where we stand – our value system and life-style.
In a more particular sense, we are children of [mutual ancestor] whose name many of us bear and who provided us with example and, hopefully, direction. Once again, some might go so far as to deny or reject the relationship and influence while others tend to ignore or neglect to cultivate it. Most of us, however, acknowledge and even take pride in the relationship and accept it as a real part of who we are.
Ideally our forebears are worthy of recognition and their example and instruction defines who we are and influences our life-style and value system which is thus passed down from generation to generation. In our family many generations have been people of faith, defined by a desire to know and do God’s will. Bible study and church attendance have been characteristic along with honesty and a strong work ethic. Many of us, like our forebears, met and married as a result of associations in Bible Schools or churches.
We are a part of this heritage and it will be a part of who we are and what we stand for unless we have either disowned the relationship or are neglecting its significance and influence.
I remember and was impressed by my parent’s dedication to work on the farm. It seemed to take precedence over all else except church. When there were church services or gospel meetings we somehow managed to get some time away from the work. We would sometimes walk seven miles to attend such meetings and walk back home afterwards. Family traits that we were taught include faithfulness, honesty, dependability, hard work and independence.
We were moulded by our parents and this is an ongoing process. Those of you who are parents must face the fact that you have heavy responsibilities in this process. What are you “passing on”? Yes, you are expected to provide food, clothing and shelter. That part usually “comes naturally”. The greater burden on you is the preparation of your children for life by passing on values. Too often, this part tends to be neglected or poorly done.
When God chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen people, He said, “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” (Gen.18:19).
As Moses led Abraham’s descendents and passed God’s instructions on to them, he wrote, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ... Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut.6:6-9).
Both parents must be involved. Timothy’s “sincere faith” “first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (II Tim.1:5). Fathers are instructed to bring their children “up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). It is most unfortunate when parents do not work together in this task.
This system breaks down when neglect occurs – when parents fail to assume their responsibility and/or when children reject or rebel against parental teaching and influence.
We are sometimes saddened to observe a downward generational process that goes something like the following. Great-grandpa had the Bible in heart and life, grandfather had it in his head, father on his shelf and son in the attic. May this not be the situation in our families.
WHO ARE WE? We are children of God and descendents of godly ancestors.
Eugene C. Perry

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

From Gary... Bible Reading January 5



Bible Reading   

January 5

The World English Bible 

Jan. 5
Genesis 5

Gen 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him in God's likeness.
Gen 5:2 He created them male and female, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Gen 5:3 Adam lived one hundred thirty years, and became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
Gen 5:4 The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:5 All the days that Adam lived were nine hundred thirty years, then he died.
Gen 5:6 Seth lived one hundred five years, and became the father of Enosh.
Gen 5:7 Seth lived after he became the father of Enosh eight hundred seven years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:8 All the days of Seth were nine hundred twelve years, then he died.
Gen 5:9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan.
Gen 5:10 Enosh lived after he became the father of Kenan, eight hundred fifteen years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:11 All the days of Enosh were nine hundred five years, then he died.
Gen 5:12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel.
Gen 5:13 Kenan lived after he became the father of Mahalalel eight hundred forty years, and became the father of sons and daughters
Gen 5:14 and all the days of Kenan were nine hundred ten years, then he died.
Gen 5:15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared.
Gen 5:16 Mahalalel lived after he became the father of Jared eight hundred thirty years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:17 All the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety-five years, then he died.
Gen 5:18 Jared lived one hundred sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch.
Gen 5:19 Jared lived after he became the father of Enoch eight hundred years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:20 All the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty-two years, then he died.
Gen 5:21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.
Gen 5:22 Enoch walked with God after he became the father of Methuselah three hundred years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:23 All the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years.
Gen 5:24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Gen 5:25 Methuselah lived one hundred eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.
Gen 5:26 Methuselah lived after he became the father of Lamech seven hundred eighty-two years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:27 All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty-nine years, then he died.
Gen 5:28 Lamech lived one hundred eighty-two years, and became the father of a son,
Gen 5:29 and he named him Noah, saying, "This same will comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Yahweh has cursed."
Gen 5:30 Lamech lived after he became the father of Noah five hundred ninety-five years, and became the father of sons and daughters.
Gen 5:31 All the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy-seven years, then he died.
Gen 5:32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


Jan. 5,6
Matthew 3

Mat 3:1 In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
Mat 3:2 "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
Mat 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight."
Mat 3:4 Now John himself wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
Mat 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him.
Mat 3:6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8 Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance!
Mat 3:9 Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Mat 3:10 "Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
Mat 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."
Mat 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
Mat 3:14 But John would have hindered him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?"
Mat 3:15 But Jesus, answering, said to him, "Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him.
Mat 3:16 Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.
Mat 3:17 Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Jan. 5,6
Matthew 3

Mat 3:1 In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
Mat 3:2 "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
Mat 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight."
Mat 3:4 Now John himself wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
Mat 3:5 Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him.
Mat 3:6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8 Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance!
Mat 3:9 Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Mat 3:10 "Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
Mat 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."
Mat 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
Mat 3:14 But John would have hindered him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?"
Mat 3:15 But Jesus, answering, said to him, "Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him.
Mat 3:16 Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.
Mat 3:17 Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."